Elements of a Broken Mind

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Prologue

Sergeant James Morgan had just gotten off of a twelve hour shift. The sun was beginning to peep over the mountains and the birds were well into their early morning chorus. He cast a bleary eye in the direction of the sun and moaned. Working weekend security was awful; but it was hard to say no to twelve hours of overtime, especially if your wife had just had a baby! He grinned. It was a lot more fun staying up watching his favorite sitcoms, rather than having sleep interrupted by a hungry newborn.

James climbed into his beat up old jeep and started the engine. It coughed and sputtered, then stalled out. It was just one more reason to add to the long list of why he worked overtime. Popping the hood, he sighed and climbed out of the jeep. He fiddled with some wires and plugs. Sparks flew and he jumped back.

“Dammit!” he swore, feeling the burn from the mild shock. He fiddled around some more. “That should do it,” he muttered, climbing back into the jeep. This time the engine sputtered and roared to life. Thank God! He was ready to get home to the nice breakfast of pancakes and eggs with his choice of bacon or sausage. He loved his wife. She really was wonderful!

He was contemplating whether he wanted a hot shower before breakfast, or before bed, as he pulled out of the parking lot. He almost missed the person lying sprawled on the lawns. The brakes squealed in loud protest as he slammed on them.

“Damned teenagers,” he grumbled, figuring it was a kid who had stumbled over from the party down the street last night and passed out drunk. He contemplated leaving the kid there to sleep it off. After all, he may not get the jeep started again. Besides he was off shift, it was no longer his responsibility. His stomach growled, reminding him of breakfast with his wife and baby. Even from the road, he could tell that it was a girl. What if that was his little girl? Would he want someone else to just leave her there?

“Awe, hell!” Slamming the jeep into park, he hung out the window and called out. “Hey kid! Get your ass up! This is private property, you know!” He could be a Good Samaritan without being nice about it!

She must have been pretty well passed out, because she didn’t seem to hear him at all. Growling that he knew the jeep probably wouldn’t restart, he turned it off, slammed the door, and stomped across the cool wet lawn. The dew collected on the tips of his work shoes, beading on the nice wax job. As he got closer, he couldn’t help but notice how still she was. She really didn’t look like a drunk who had passed out. She lay with her arms at her sides, perfectly still. Her hair was neat. Her makeup was neat. Even her clothes were un-rumpled.

Nudging her with his boot, he began to feel a chill creep up his spine. “Miss?” There was no response. A sickening feeling began building in his stomach, churning the bile in anticipation. His arms and legs trembled as he slowly bent over to check the young woman’s pulse. His fingers barely brushed her neck and his whole being recoiled. “Oh Jesus!”

 Chapter One

Detective Grant Anderson pulled his long six-foot-four frame out of his truck and took a look around. His normally piercing blue eyes were bleary, and his thick curly black hair was disheveled. He hated being called out on Sundays…especially this early in the morning…especially given what he’d heard so far.

He spied Deputy Keys standing with a man in a blue uniform next to a beat up old jeep. More importantly, he spied the coffee in the detective’s hand. Seemed like as good a place as any to start. He ambled on over.

“Is that for me?” he asked, indicating the cup.

 Keys grimaced, but handed the cup over.

“Good man, Good man.” Grant took a sip of the hot brew. He could have done with a bit more sugar, but beggars can’t be choosers. Smiling at Keys, he then turned to the man in uniform. “So, you must be our super hero security guard.” He tried very hard to keep the smirk off his face, instantly regretting the comment as he took a better look at the man.

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